Glamping worldwide – the portmanteau of glamour and camping – allows travellers to enjoy all the benefits of camping with the added extras and comfort of a 5-star hotel. There are many different levels of glamping… from simple, cute and bespoke to luxurious and opulent.
I became interested in it almost a decade ago. For me, it was a great way to get outside with my young family, without having to take everything we needed to have a great vacation.
Having a wood-burning stove was also a bonus, to deal with the cooler nights and any bad weather days.
But I particularly loved that glamping wasn’t just a vacation, it was an experience and in many cases, it was as unique as the place where it was located.
“Some people said it was a passing trend that would disappear as quickly as it had appeared. But they were wrong.” Sarah Riley, Glamping Business Academy
Over the years I have worked in this industry I have identified several significant factors that have shifted glamping from a trending meme to something that is far more widespread, significant and a very exciting part of the camping industry today.
In fact, the 2019 KOA Report – Kampgrounds of America – talked extensively about glamping, where it had been almost ignored in previous years. Specifically, it noted that 45% of its campers wanted to experience glamping over the following year, which has almost doubled from the previous report.
When the recession hit in 2008/09 we all became much more thoughtful about our income and what we were spending on luxuries. Numbers taking overseas holidays declined, but glamping showed itself to be surprisingly robust in the face of an economic meltdown.
[i]The Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism noted that Glamping worldwide was an area in need of academic research and called for a study regarding “…outdoor hospitality, its successes, and challenges, particularly in its stellar performance during the recent global financial slowdown…”
When incomes started to rise again, people once again began to spend money on their vacations, but with memories of the hard lessons learned during the recession they were encouraged to look elsewhere for more affordable holiday experiences, such as what glamping worldwide offered, rather than opting for what they had always done before.
The 2020/21 recession following the health crisis is no different. Only this time the new wave of interest in outdoor activities is also being boosted by consumer desire to spend more time outdoors, de-stressing in nature and exercising with family whilst socially distancing themselves from others.
Terrorist threats and the political turmoil of various countries have lead to an unstable world and an equally nervous holidaymaker, worried about hostility abroad and losing money on cancelled vacations.
This has encouraged tourists to look elsewhere when booking their holiday, and staycations (staying at home vacations) such as glamping have been boosted as a result.
We cannot avoid the fact that many of us no longer want to switch off when we go camping. New technology, social media and the increase of freedom lifestyles and businesses have encouraged this global habit.
Glamping, with its added luxuries and wifi access, has helped to make this possible, while advances in technology have also helped, with the development of smaller and more portable devices.
Popular culture, celebrities, and Royalty have also given Glamping the thumbs up, which has resulted in the trend being popularised further amongst the younger generation. As those generations have aged, they have also helped the trend continue with its ongoing growth.
Ease of Booking
With the rise of booking portals such as Glamping.com and Airbnb, travellers have been able to explore a huge variety of experiences in any location they desire, resulting in even the smallest glamping experience in little-known destinations becoming possible and very successful. This has been great for small businesses and the industry as a whole.
Another reason for the growth in the glamping trend is with the rise in sustainable tourism, with [ii]66 percent of travelers now saying they’re willing to pay more to insure their trips are as sustainable as possible. Listen to episode 44 of our podcast to understand how businesses can use rewilding to build on this.
Glamping naturally leans towards offering additional extras such as wellness activities and treatments. This is particularly interesting as wellness travel is expected to generate [iii]$563 billion in earnings this year.
The blend of tourism, travel, wellness, and the environment are all elements within glamping experiences and this helps to make it a profitable one. The wellness travel industry grew by 6.8 per cent between 2013 and 2015, and it shows no sign of slowing, which is great news.
Impact of The Pandemic
After the health crisis reduced overseas travel, glamping started to attract those looking for a different type of socially-distanced holiday stay that would help them forget about recent troubles. This is why glamping hosts only experienced a short period of disruption in their total occupancy during this time, which was most often influenced by local government regulations and not the shortage of vacationers. This has continued to be the case as those new to glamping have found it to be a comfortable and exciting alternative to their usual foreign holiday.
How To Run A Glamping Business
As glamping worldwide has evolved into being more about the location and the experience than just simply being a luxury camping trip, it has earned the respect of the camping industry.
To be a success, new glamping businesses have to get the overall mix of the offer just right for the discerning glamper and if they do, they will be able to enjoy riding the wave of this strengthening and very exciting trend.
If you are curious to find out more about how to start a glamping business, make sure you read this article on Inspired Camping, which is full of helpful tips and links signposting you to more resources.
If you are already keen to get started and need the glamping business plan templates and cash flow examples to help you understand the costs involved in setting up and running this type of holiday rental, then you can find those here.
You can also listen to the podcast: The Business of Glamping and Unique Holiday Rentals in all the usual places.
About The Author:
Sarah Riley is a glamping business and guest attraction specialist, and host of the podcast ‘The Business of Glamping And Unique Holiday Rentals’. Her work ranges from lifestyle business start-up advice and training, to project managing and researching books and TV projects across the world. She has developed the internationally acclaimed, ‘The Ultimate Glamping Business Guide’, helping new businesses launch their ideas quickly, start earning revenue immediately and jump ahead of the competition.
[i] Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 2013, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221307801300008X
[ii] MDPI Sustainability Article “Are Tourists Really Willing to Pay More for Sustainable Destinations?” Juan Ignacio Pulido-Fernández * and Yaiza López-Sánchez, Department of Economics, University of Jaén, Campus de Las Lagunillas, s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain; firstname.lastname@example.org
[iii] Global Wellness Institute https://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/global-wellness-institute-releases-global-wellness-economy-monitor-packed-with-regional-national-data-on-wellness-markets/